Melanie Dool’s gardening column in association with Orchardstown Garden Centre
WE are almost in what we would consider our midsummer and, if conditions are right, we are or should be feeling upbeat, relaxed and in a good humour. Whatever our interests and hobbies there is a strong pull to be outside whenever possible.
I am not sure if it affects everybody but when the weather becomes warm and heavy, there is a feeling of claustrophobia about being inside and a great urge to get outdoors in the fresh air. And that’s when having some outdoor space gives you an instant place to chill and get immediate relief.
Here, it is important that your surroundings help with that feeling so look around and if necessary brighten up, tidy and make sure you area of relaxing has colour and interest with no blank or dull walls or divisions.
It is not difficult to organise but have some greenery by planting some simple pots made up of summer flowers and herbs. And for added interest, soft solar lights and candles in painted jam jars for the evenings will augment the ambient mood.
The ‘feel good’ factor will continue as long as the sun shines but in reality, even when days are overcast, we can still be out in our gardens reading, having a drink, eating, firing up the ‘barbie’, chatting and even snoozing! As we are mostly reasonable and sensible people we have not gone mad and have BBQs all the year round like some of our recent newcomers from Australia are who still enjoy an antipodean past time even when it is cold and rainy!
Have you noticed the growing trend for outdoor entertainment? The recently held Comeraghs Wild Festival was well worth attending, as Summer In The City continues to be. The drama/thriller film ‘Midsommar’ currently doing the rounds does not interest me but, the essence of the Scandinavian festival spirit does, where nature is embraced without hang-ups.
We are into the silly season where we do not need anything serious to trouble us too much and where some news coverage carries an increased amount of less serious and more trivial stories. But being honest, we don’t want to be reminded of too much bad news while we are trying to enjoy our summer/ Regardless of what is happening in the outside world and closer to home, we all need to build up strength, recharge the batteries and the summer months are the time to do it. A good way to do this is to have a fun day out at the Dungarvan Agricultural Show this Thursday, July 25.
I do enjoy the television series ‘Midsomer Murders’ as apart from the fact it is easy going,
the setting is based in what I imagine the typical rural English countryside looks like: pretty villages, pubs, a central green area sometimes with a pond, small country roads and ancient houses with cottage garden flowers. I sometimes think how can murders be committed in such a beautiful setting but, of course that is a bit naive of me and perhaps it is a secret desire for utopia.
Some flowers are tougher and longer lasting than others and can withstand both heat and being battered by wind or a sudden downpour, and are useful for fillers and topping up pots that are fading and they include begonias (both the waxy leaved with small flowers and the double flowered varieties), bacoba, calibrachia, trailing petunias, geraniums (especially ivy leaved varieties) and a number of others which will attract butterflies and bees like erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’, perovskia, lavender, salvia ‘Hot Lips’ and ‘Amistad’, and verbena bonariensis.
TIP OF THE WEEK
Deadhead or remove flowers that have faded and you will encourage more flowers on your summer bedding, herbaceous plants and roses.
This could be considered a relaxing or therapeutic time, and can be done now and then without too much else on your mind and perhaps, in conjunction with a cool iced drink nearby to make the whole experience a pleasant occupation.
If you have roses then you can take off any leaves that have the blackspot disease and for this and deadheading a scissors or secateurs will do. If the foliage of onions has started to fade you can then harvest them by digging and placing them on the soil to dry off for a week or two and then to storage inside a dry shed.